How to easily lower your food waste
As part of food waste action week, Red Rickshaw wants to help ensure you’re making the most of your groceries and helping to lower food waste in your own home. Lowering your individual food waste is crucial in making the fundamental changes the world needs to in order to save the environment, but these tips should help save you money too - stretching your shopping further!
The UK alone throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year – even though 8.4 million people in the UK are in food poverty. From this wasted food, over 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, which equates to over 5% of our total national yearly output - all on food which goes straight into the bin (The Eco Experts, 2021).
Across the world, we produce enough food for every single person to eat and for no one to ever go hungry, but one-third of it goes to waste: with an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of perfectly good food thrown away globally each year (FAO, 2021). Here's four easy and cost effective tips to help lower your food waste:
- Plan your meals.
- Store your food wisely.
- Love your leftovers.
- Understand 'Best Before' & 'Use By' dates.
Plan Your meals
Life is busy and it can often feel as though you barely have a chance to think about what to have for dinner each night, let alone sit down and think about what to eat for the whole week. However, meal planning will save you money and time in the long run. By efficiently planning your meals for the week you can ensure you only buy what you need and all the vegetables you get are used across your meals, guaranteeing no mouldy courgettes left at the back of your fridge on Friday!
When you order with Red Rickshaw you can choose the day you would like us to deliver your shopping, so you can plan with confidence!
Store Your FOOD WISELY
Check your fridge temperature - ensure it is between 0-5 degrees celsius to improve the longevity of your fresh foods! However, a lot of food keeps better outside of the fridge, such as pineapple, potatoes and bananas. However, don’t place your bananas in your fruit bowl with all your other lovely fresh fruit. Bananas will hastily ripen any fruit left near them, causing your fruit to go off before you are ready to eat it! This is because they emit a gas called ethene which causes the cell walls of fruits to break down. If you have previously found you can’t keep up with the speed that your fruit ripens, leave your bananas out of the bowl from now on!
LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS!
If you’ve got half a portion of noodles leftover, why not save yourself a lot of time, effort and money and save them in your fridge for a quick lunch the next day instead of throwing them away. Alternatively, properly stored day-old rice is often the best for egg fried rice due to its firmness and drier texture. Ensuring you use up all of your leftovers and don’t throw perfectly good food into the bin is at the heart of the food waste action week. A quick think about whether your excess food could be reheated or turned into something else before you scrape your pan into the bin would be a valuable part of saving the planet!
UNDERSTAND 'BEST BEFORE' & 'USE BY' Dates
Often people take a quick glance at the ‘Best Before’ date on foods and decide to throw out the perfectly good food without checking it any further. ‘Best Before’ dates are often flexible and are suggestions from the manufacturer as to when to eat the product. If your food, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, is past its ‘Best Before’ date, that simply means the seller can no longer guarantee that the product will have 100% of the flavour, a quick check and you’ll see whether or not your food is edible or not.
Dried foods such as pasta, flour, beans and spices, can be safely consumed long after their ‘Best Before’ date. If you want to liven up your old spices, check out our blog on 3 ways to make the most out of your old spices.
Alternatively, ‘Use By’ dates are often found on more perishable foods such as dairy and meat. It is important to check these when you purchase your food to make sure you know you can eat it before the food goes off. However, if you find you can’t eat your meat before that date, you can always freeze it to keep it longer.
Taking these small steps will make a huge difference in the amount of food waste made across the UK and beyond, and should save you money on your shopping too!
If you want to start meal planning more effectively but don’t think you have the time, discover our sister company FeastBox - the food box that delivers exciting weeknight-friendly meals to your door every week so that you don’t have to do any of the work. All the food comes pre-portioned, meaning there is absolutely no waste! Perfect for starting your own food waste reduction journey!